Test Drive: 2012 Hyundai Veloster

?Hyundai introduces the Veloster ? A gateway halo vehicle?

Korean automaker, Hyundai is on a roll in terms of appealing new product. Their latest vehicle is the 2012 Veloster, a three-door asymmetrical coupe with a rear hatch. It is intended to be a ?gateway halo? or entry level vehicle for the brand. It is unique in its styling and functional attributes, with a host of advanced technologies on board, all included in a value laden package. The Veloster features Hyundai?s BlueLink communications system with over thirty features in three available packages: Assurance, Essentials and Guidance, along with a 40-mpg capability.

In terms of its styling, it is a three door hatch coupe with a single door on the driver?s side and two conventionally-opening doors on the passenger side with the rear door that is actually hidden. In right-hand drive markets, the passenger door will move from the right side to the left. Veloster comes with Hyundai?s bold signature hexagonal grille, a hood scoop, LED headlight accents and black ?A?-pillars that tend to simulate a motorcycle visor. Fluidic sculptured lines join athletic, pronounced wheel arches fore and aft, body-color door handles and mirrors, as well as wraparound headlights and available 5-spoke, 18-inch alloy wheels that feature unique painted inserts all combine, adding to the unusual coupe?s sporty exterior image. Piano black accents complement the front-end look.

A unique rear glass hatch with an integrated rear spoiler is set inboard of the wraparound tail lamps. The rear also features a blacked out diffuser with centered dual chrome tip rectangular exhaust outlets. A backup camera and backup warning sensors are optionally available.

 

Moving to the inside, the interior design drew its inspiration from sport motorcycles, with the dynamic center fascia taken from the tank, the air vent design drawn from mechanically styled, wide mufflers, while the floor console delivers a sporty and sleek profile. Additionally, there?s a 7-inch Multimedia touch screen, a technical, non-reflective grain on the IP, and stylish, silver-colored grab handles and other trim accents. A proximity key with push-button start is available as are red and black combination seating. In terms of seating volume, Veloster offers best-in-class interior volume in the compact sporty car market segment, beating out the likes of the Scion tC, Honda CR-Z, MINI Hardtop and?Clubman and the latest VW Beetle. Innovative storage abounds with front map pockets with bottle holders, overhead sunglass storage, front and rear?cupholders with storage consoles, a dual-tiered armrest storage box, front seatback storage pockets and front and rear armrest storage pockets. There are two levels of audio systems as well, featuring Hyundai?s first application of Gracenote technology and Pandora. There?s also Bluetooth with voice recognition, cruise control and steering wheel audio controls.

 

 

 

 

 

Power for the Veloster is delivered by a Gamma 1.6-liter, Direct Gas injected, DOHC, 16-valve inline four-cylinder engine with dual continuously variable valve timing. The engine generates 138 horsepower at 6,300 rpm and 123 pound feet of torque at 4,850 rpm. The diminutive four-banger is mated to either a six-speed manual gearbox with an EcoShift indicator, or a six-speed EcoShift Dual Clutch transmission (Hyundai?s first), with standard wheel-mounted paddle shifters and a SHIFTRONIC? manual shift mode, transferring motive force to the front wheels.

The Veloster provides an impressive array of safety features, including: six airbags, Vehicle Stability Management, Electronic Stability Control with integrated Traction Control, Hillstart Assist Control (DCT only), ABS with EBD and Brake Assist.

 

 

My test 2012 Hyundai Veloster came with the EcoShift DCT transmission. It sported a Century White exterior with a Black interior and had a base sticker of $18,550. Adding the Style ad Tech Packages, carpeted floor mats and Inland Freight and Handling charges bumped the final count and amount to $23,405. Which may seem like a lot for a compact vehicle, but the two packages are loaded with lots of special features and equipment.

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SUMMARY:? The 2012 Hyundai Veloster is an incredible compact vehicle that is not only innovative, but extremely attractive in its appearance, especially from the rear and side views. It comes with an almost unbelievable inventory of standard features and technology, with impressive option packaging that provides enhancements for personalization desires and requirements.

The ride quality is compliant, even with the optional 18-inch wheels and tires, and the handling characteristics are sporty indeed. The power that?s put out by the 1.6-liter four-cylinder motor is decidedly adequate top satisfy the car?s mission statement, but the addition of turbocharging would definitely up the ante?in the performance department. In other words, it could absolutely use more power in certain driving scenarios such as uphill passing. Though Hyundai representatives were unable to verify that a turbo version was in the works, it seems almost certain that such a model can?t be far from fruition.

In the final analysis, the Veloster is a most impressive compact vehicle that?s sure to fill the bill for those consumers shopping for a sporty, yet economic, compact and technologically innovative vehicle, and its price is quite reasonable considering the almost unimaginable content.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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